September 08, 2022

If You Could Read Only One Author from Church History, Who Would It Be and Why?

Nathan W. Bingham & John Tweeddale
If You Could Read Only One Author from Church History, Who Would It Be and Why?

The Lord has raised up many teachers and authors over the centuries who have greatly helped the church through their writings. Today, John Tweeddale identifies which author he would choose to read if he could only select one from church history.


NATHAN W. BINGHAM: This week I’m at Reformation Bible College, joined by their professor of theology and vice president of academics, Dr. John Tweeddale. Dr. Tweeddale, if you could read only one author from church history, who would it be and why?

DR. JOHN TWEEDDALE: Thanks, Nathan. This is a really hard question for me because I actually teach church history at RBC. And throughout my life as a Christian, there have been different authors who have ministered to me in different ways. So, for example, John Calvin helped me love the Scriptures. As a college student, reading Francis Schaeffer taught me to love people and think about the consequence of ideas, we might say. Actually, reading R.C. as a young man helped me love history and philosophy and Reformed theology, of course.

Then moving on, certainly people like Robert Murray M’Cheyne or J.C. Ryle taught me to really understand the holiness of God in terms of Christian living. Or I can think of an unknown Scottish minister by the name of Hugh Martin, whom I love to read regarding the person and work of Christ, especially His work as our High Priest.

But if there is simply one author that I can only read and no one else, I would have to say it would be my main man, my patron saint—if I’m allowed to have one—John Owen. Nobody has ministered to me more than Owen throughout the years. He wrote over eight million ponderous words throughout his career, and so there is a lot to read. Many people love his Death of Death in the Death of Christ or Communion with God or Mortification of Sin. But if I had to recommend one from Owen, it would be his last book, Meditations and Discourses on the Glory of Christ. There, Owen really helps us see the importance of knowing Christ by faith here on earth and how that prepares us for beholding Christ by sight in glory.

So, Owen was a Puritan, lived in the seventeenth century, wrote a lot about the splendor of God in the depths of the human heart, but he’s helped me the most understand the glory of Christ. And for that reason, I would say it’d have to be John Owen.